PhD topic of project A2: Synthesis of microporous adsorbents


PhD topic of project A2: Synthesis of microporous adsorbents for the selective separation of phosphorus from wastewater

In this project, microporous adsorbents based on zeolites, zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs) and metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) will be developed. Zeolites with different topologies will be synthesized in order to investigate the influence of pore geometries (cages vs. channels) and pore diameters on the adsorption of phosphates. The surfaces of the zeolite structures will be specifically modified to enable or improve the adsorption of negatively charged phosphate species. 

Furthermore, multivalent cations such as La3+ or Ca2+ will be introduced into the pore structures by cation exchange in order to improve the interaction with phosphates. In addition to the above-mentioned cations, other main and transition metal cations will also be used to elucidate which metals are best suited for this application.

In addition to zeolites, structurally related microporous systems will also be investigated in this project. For this purpose, ZIFs or MOFs will be modified with cationic functionalities by means of post-synthetic modification reactions. All synthesized materials will be thoroughly characterized with regard to their crystalline structure and surface properties in order to investigate correlations with the absorption capacity.

The most important scientific questions of this PhD will be:

-  What influence does the modification of zeolites have on the adsorption capacity and the adsorption kinetics of phosphates? Is the adsorption reversible? Under which conditions can the adsorbent be regenerated?
-  Can the adsorption capacity of microporous adsorbents be significantly increased by incorporating multivalent cations such as Ca2+ or La3+ into the pore structure? Which cations are best suited to adsorb phosphates?
-  How do structural properties such as topology, pore structure and diameter of the materials correlate with the adsorption capacity for phosphates? Does the structure influence the phosphate selectivity if other anions are present in the wastewater?
-  What are the differences between zeolites, ZIFs and MOFs in terms of their suitability as adsorbents for phosphates?

Requirements for applicants:

-  Excellent Master's degree (M.Sc.) in chemistry or equivalent
-  Fluency in English and willingness to learn German (for non-German speakers)


You can send your application for this PhD topic to Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Kleist: wolfgang.kleist[at]   

Please send by 15.03.2024 complete application documents:

-  Letter of motivation that prioritizes one or two of the PhD topics of WERA 
-  Curriculum Vitae
-  Copy of your degree certificate (Bachelor, Master or equivalent) with full academic transcripts

directly to the supervisors of PhD topics ( „apply-button“ ). 

You can contact the spokesperson Prof. Sergiy Antonyuk ( for general questions about PhD Graduate School.


About RPTU Kaiserslautern-Landau: 

The RPTU Kaiserslautern-Landau (RPTU) is the technical university of the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate with over 20,000 students, more than 300 professors and around 160 degree programmes. As a place of top-level international research, it offers excellent working conditions and career opportunities. Those who study, research or work at RPTU experience a welcoming and globally-oriented environment and shape the future.

The PhD Graduate School GRK 2908 is supported financially by the German Research Foundation (DFG) with funds from the German states and the federal government of Germany.

RPTU - Technische Universität Kaiserslautern-Landau

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Deadline: 2024-03-15
Location: Germany, Kaiserslautern, Landau
Categories: Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, PhD, synthesis,


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